I am bankruptcy attorney Alexzander Adams, and I am writing this page for my future bankruptcy clients, as well as others who meet with me and decide to go another route.
Bankruptcy is a journey, and debt doesn’t happen overnight. It might take years before you realize you need financial help – and a bankruptcy attorney.
Let’s start at the beginning. If you are reading my words here, then today is not the beginning of this journey for you. Oftentimes, it takes my clients years to seek help with their personal finances before a “straw breaking the camel’s back” moment catapults them into my office. Maybe it’s a car repossession, maybe a notice of garnishment or maybe it’s the humility of being served a lawsuit regarding a collections account. This financial situation has caused you mental stress, physical stress, stress in your relationships with friends and loved ones, and has also left you feeling at times depressed, helpless, and scared.
You are not here because you have failed as a provider, a mother, a father, a student, or a breadwinner. You have more than likely done everything you have been able to think of to avoid reading the words on this page. You have truly been selfless in trying to support the family and carry on, so your
loved ones don’t feel the strain of this burden. So, before you ever contact me and before I am fortunate enough to speak to you, many events have occurred.
Some of these events may be your fault. Maybe you didn’t read closely enough the terms of a car lease agreement and the contract deteriorated and now you can’t make the payments. Maybe you bought into the housing boom and believed the mortgage agent when they said a variable rate mortgage will always be affordable or you could just refinance or sell. Maybe you were two days late on a low-interest credit that then raised your interest rate to 29.99 percent and doubled your minimum payments because you weren’t paying enough attention to paying the bills on time.
Some of these events may not be your fault. Maybe for once in your life you took the family to Disneyland, only to return and find you have been downsized from your job of 15 years. Maybe the small business you have which was once booming has fallen on hard times in this economy and you are now looking for work. Maybe there was a loss of income in your family making paying the bills now impossible. Maybe it can all be traced to one moment in time when a sudden medical condition started the financial strain. Or, may the COVID pandemic just plain kicked your butt.
Whatever the reason, this is where you are. You are reading this to find a path out of this mess. Here’s what I want to do for you. I want to provide a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. I want to get you through this maze and back to a productive life. I want to help you achieve a fresh start in your finances so you can move on and hopefully never return to this dark place. And I want you, right now, to start looking forward toward what life can and will be like in the future,
rather than festering in misery about how you got here in the first place.
Here is my first offer of advice. For one more moment, be it the next five minutes, an hour or maybe even a day, I want you to let out all the things you really want to say to yourself. Go ahead and pile the blame on yourself, tell yourself you were foolish, how you never should have followed certain advice, how you can’t believe how stupid you were, how you can’t bear to look at yourself in the mirror or face your family. Whatever you feel, go ahead and let it out. Look in the mirror and yell at yourself if you must. When you have done this, continue reading.
Now let it go. That’s right. You have told yourself what you want to tell yourself. It’s nothing you can change, it’s nothing that you are proud of, it is neither who you are, nor who you want to be. And it is not productive. So let it go.
Let those feelings and emotions go and keep only enough of them to remember you don’t want to be here again, and that you have learned one of life’s more humbling lessons. It’s water under the bridge.
It is in the past. I want you to turn the ship around 180 degrees now and steam toward the future. You are looking backwards and feeling down. I challenge you to now look forward and know you are beginning to head in the right direction.
Now, I want you to take a deep breath, count to 10, relax for moment. (If need be, take a deep breath and count to 10 as many times as you need to before you can relax for a
moment.) This is not some metaphysical exercise where I pretend that I can fix your troubles if you would only breathe better and relax. But often when I have clients in my office, after speaking to them, I realize that the tension in their shoulders, the quiver in their breath, and their embarrassment about asking for helping has prevented them from relaxation and rejuvenation for years. So, I want you to get some oxygen in your system and take a bit of the stress off your shoulders right now. Why do you deserve to relax a little right now as you read this?
Because you have already done what is, across the board, the hardest part about resolving your debt. You’ve asked for help. By reading these thousand or so words or so above, you have taken a huge step from stressing about your problems to resolving them, and you should reward yourself with a moment before we move forward.
Help Is Available for You
Hopefully, you are now a little less stressed about asking for help. We can help you get through this. We know it feels like you are swimming in molasses, but this is what we do. Pick up the phone and call us or send an email through our contact form. A bankruptcy attorney will sit down with you (these days on the phone or in person) and find a way to straighten out your situation.
It’s OK, and you’re not alone. I can help.
Why You Need a Bankruptcy Attorney
A bankruptcy attorney can help you evaluate your financial situation and determine if filing bankruptcy is the right option for you. Your attorney can also help you decide which type of bankruptcy is right for your situation – whether it’s Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. If you seek Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your attorney can ensure you qualify through the means test to prove your income is below a certain level.
As your bankruptcy attorney, I can then help you understand the process and timeline and set expectations while answering your questions.
Some tasks I can help you with include:
- Gathering and filing the necessary paperwork.
- Assessing your financial situation and total debt amount.
- Dealing with creditors and ensuring they honor an automatic stay and stop harassing you for payments.
- Determining which property you can mark as exempt.
- Working with you and the court to assist with the details of your bankruptcy.
- Set expectations for what happens during and after your bankruptcy.
Myths a Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help You Bust
There are many myths about bankruptcy that might be deterring you from filing to ease your financial stress. Some of the most common myths include:
1. I won’t be allowed to file for bankruptcy.
A bankruptcy discharge cannot be denied to you (absent criminal or fraudulent conduct on your part). Bankruptcy is a right, just like freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Unless you lie to the court or do some other fraudulent activity during your bankruptcy case, you can receive a discharge if you go through the required steps.
2. I will lose all of my assets and property in bankruptcy.
Most clients lose no or very little assets in bankruptcy. In Oregon, our legislature allows debtors in bankruptcy to keep a threshold amount of personal and real estate property through bankruptcy. This is designed to help people get back on their feet after bankruptcy. The vast majority of my clients keep all of their property, including their home, their cars, and their personal property through bankruptcy. I help clients identify which assets are at risk in bankruptcy and what to do with these assets before bankruptcy.
3. I must file bankruptcy once I meet with a bankruptcy attorney.
You are under no obligation to file for bankruptcy when you meet with a bankruptcy attorney. Some cases take weeks to plan before filing; others can take years until the client is ready. Exploring bankruptcy is a viable option to pursue if you are in over your head with debt, even if you choose to go another route.
4. A bankruptcy attorney can only handle bankruptcies.
Often when attorneys sit down with a potential client to review a case, other things come up which may cause a pause to the bankruptcy or complementary work. Clients may have in addition to bankruptcy concern, concerns about other debt restructuring, home loan modification workouts, debt settlement negotiation, collections lawsuit defense and settlement, personal injury representation, and other legal needs. This office routinely handles car accident cases, criminal defense matters, student loan repayment options, as well as estate planning.
5. I don’t have enough money to file for bankruptcy.
If you want to pursue bankruptcy, we want to help you, and that means we’ll find a way to get it into your budget. Helping this be affordable for you is our job, not yours.
Let a Bankruptcy Attorney Help You
If you are drowning in debt or need help restructuring your finances, let our lawyers at The Law Offices of Alexzander C.J. Adams, P.C. help you sort through your options. We work for you, the people, and not institutions. Contact us for a free case evaluation, or no-obligation consultation. We are dedicated to helping you overcome this small bump in the road and assisting you to get on with your life.